Pitt's march back to .500 and a degree of respectability continues with a game against Temple this week.
It was easy to look at Pitt's 2-4 start and declare the season was over. And to a degree, it was. The loss to Syracuse essentially ended any chance the Panthers had to win the conference and the Louisville defeat certainly put the nails into the coffin. But if you looked ahead on the schedule, you realized that Pitt had a chance to pick up a couple of consecutive wins against Buffalo and Temple to keep bowl hopes alive.
Now, that's not to say that the game against the Owls is necessarily going to be an easy one. But playing at home, this is a game Pitt should win.
Looking at Temple, they've been far more successful in the Big East than most figured they would. With wins over South Florida and UConn, they're 2-1 in the conference and also played Penn State and Maryland close. In addition, this past weekend, the Owls had a 10-0 halftime lead on Rutgers before fading in the second half. At 3-3, Temple has certainly been respectable and have clearly proved they're capable of playing in the Big East.
On offense, Pitt hasn't been real consistent this season and overall, has been lackluster. In two of the past three games, Pitt's underachieved when they've had the ball. The good news, though, is that the Owls have been just as bad, ranking 88th in the FBS (Pitt is 73rd). And the Panthers' defense has been a bit better than Temple's as well, giving up fewer points per game.
The attendance is also one thing to watch for as well. At 3-4, many Pitt fans have given up on the season and Heinz Field may be a bit light this weekend - especially if the weather turns colder. Conversely, Temple has alumni all over the state and with a fairly short drive, a good amount may make the trip from Philly. I don't expect Pitt fans to be outnumbered by Temple supporters, of course, but there could be more Owls' fans than expected.
But despite that, when you add it all up, Pitt looks like the slightly better team on paper. And playing at home, you'd like to think Pitt has the edge heading into Saturday.
At first glance, while it's no guarantee, the Panthers should win this weekend.